I’ve rarely met someone who is terrible at managing their money, their time and their food. Typically, we’re pretty good at managing at least one of these.
So if you are talented at managing one of these, how do you do it and can this knowledge be applied to one you struggle with?
I’m really good at managing my money. But it doesn’t come effortlessly. I make a plan for my money (budget), I record how I spend my money (track) and I compare how I spent my money to my original plan (variance). I also calculate my net worth each month and compare that to my planned net worth from my budget. Each time I make a decision about spending money, I think “is this worth it?” “Is this worth it” means, do I have it in my budget, is it a necessity or will it make me so happy I’ll remember it next week, next month or next year.
Even though I no longer need to manage my money very closely, I continue to do these four things: budget, track, variance review & net worth calculation.
Of Money, Time and Food, I struggle the most with food. When I’ve dieted successfully, I’ve decided how many calories or points I could eat each day (budget), I’ve recorded my food (track) and I’ve compared how many calories or points I’ve eaten to my plan (variance). I also weighed myself periodically to see if all of this work was making a difference in my weight. Each time I decided to eat something, I would think “is this worth it?” That means, do I have points or calories left for it, is it a substantial, healthy choice or if it is not, will it make me so happy I’ll remember it tomorrow.
I was never as intentional about planning my time but the same concepts apply. You come up with a plan (schedule), if you struggle keeping your plan, tracking your time would help and at the end of the day you can review what you accomplished compared to what you planned to accomplish. If there’s a discrepancy, you could identify your stumbling blocks and come up with a plan to reduce those blocks. Need help? check out the work of Laura Vanderkam, she wrote 168 Hours, you have more time than you think which is available on Amazon. You can also hear her on Jean Chatzky’s Her Money podcast where she suggested money, time and food all require similar management skills.
So if you’re really good at managing one of these areas, why are you so good at it? What tools do you use to excel in that area? Would it be helpful to apply those tools to an area you struggle with? What are your stumbling blocks? What would help you reduce or eliminate those stumbling blocks?
What other tips would you suggest to people trying to get control over their money, time or food?